When a raging wildfire destroyed Mark Orsillo’s home and prized movie collection, strangers from around the country rallied together on Facebook to make sure that the 34-year-old man with Down Syndrome wouldn’t have to wait to begin rebuilding.
Orsillo and his parents only had about 20 minutes to evacuate their Oroville, California home as the fire approached on Saturday night. Danielle Devine, Orsillo’s sister, rushed to help her brother gather his belongings. Devine was able to fill two bags, but she knew she needed to rescue a portion of Orsillo’s collection of 300 movies. With time running out and no room to spare, she was only able to save about 20 DVDs. Her parents, Pastors Steve and Vicki Orsillo, saved what they were able to throw into their car.
When the family returned, they saw that the house they had lived in for 27 years—a house that Steve Orsillo built—was completely incinerated, and nothing was salvageable. “Mark’s apartment is attached to my parents’ house and both were just completely gone, just totally gone. That was our childhood home,” Devine tells PEOPLE. Her brother, meanwhile, was still reeling from the loss of his collection.
“DVDs for Mark are everything,” Devine says. “He watches them, talks about them, collects them and organizes them, they’re his hobby.”
On Monday, in an effort to help ease some of Orsillo’s pain, Devine posted to Facebook asking people to donate any unwanted DVDs to her brother. “He is an OCD movie collector and lost hundreds of movies,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “This is very hard for him.”
It didn’t take long for the movies to come rollin’ in.
Within hours, strangers from around the country left comments announcing the DVDs they were sending Orsillo’s way. They included movies and TV shows like Spider-Man, Kindergarten Cop, Harry Potter, and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. “The response has been incredibly surprising,” Devine says.
As of Friday, Devine says her brother’s new collection has now reached close to 400 DVDs, and she thinks it may top a thousand in the coming weeks.
The family is doing well after the fire, Devine says, and Steve Orsillo plans to rebuild the house on the property. A donation page has been set up the assist the family and has already surpassed $ 12,000. And while it is wonderful her brother is getting attention, Devine wants to remind others that there were many families who lost their homes during the fire, and they need help, too. Today, the fire is 95-percent contained.
On Friday, Devine posted a heartwarming video of Orsillo seeing his new collection for the first time:
Devine, who played basketball at Arizona State, says her brother was always her biggest fan when she was on the court. “It’s really cool that I can return the favor now, because I am his biggest fan.”
“Mark is just the most loving person you’ll ever meet,” Devine continues. “He doesn’t have any bad days, he forgives everyone very easily and never gets offended. It’s almost like the love is being returned to him a million times over, and he deserves it more than anybody.”
“Yes I do!” Mark excitedly yells in the background.
Devine laughs. “Yes, you do,” she says.
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